SunTrust Racing: Grand Prix of Miami Qualifying Report
Homestead, Mar. 4, 2011: The No. 10 SunTrust Chevrolet Dallara of Wayne Taylor Racing will start Saturday’s GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Grand Prix of Miami from the outside of the second row after qualifying Friday afternoon at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Ricky Taylor, co-driver of the SunTrust Racing machine with veteran Italian Max Angelelli for the second season in a row, turned a fast lap of 1 minute, 14.060 seconds (111.801 mph) around the 2.3-mile, 11-turn superspeedway road circuit. It placed Taylor fourth on the starting grid among 32 car-and-driver combinations entered for Saturday’s 2-hour, 45-minute race, and was one place better than the fifth spot on the grid Taylor earned in qualifying the SunTrust car at Homestead last season.
“I only got six or seven laps in practice so, considering that, to have the SunTrust car fourth, I think, is really good,” said Taylor, who co-drove with Angelelli and IZOD IndyCar Series star Ryan Briscoe to a fifth-place finish at the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona in January. “Considering how I was driving – I really played it conservatively at the beginning – I think I have a bit more in the driver, here. For sure, when we get the SunTrust car to Max at the end of the race, we should be there. If I was driving at the beginning like I was at the end (of the qualifying session), it would have been a different story today. But I was being really careful with my brake points and everything because, if I would’ve flat-spotted a tire at the beginning, qualifying would’ve been over before it even started for us. So, I was taking it easy at the beginning, trying to get my brake points down on these (brand new) tires because they’re so different from 20-lap tires I drove on for a limited time in practice. I think tire wear is still the concern for tomorrow. We’ve improved over the last couple of years to where the severity of the drop-off (tire wear) is a lot less. We will see how everybody is able to manage the tires tomorrow. Whoever does the best job of that, and stays out of trouble, will have the best chance to win.”
“We always knew coming to this track that it’s one of the most difficult tracks for us, so I’m pretty happy with where we are,” said team owner Wayne Taylor, who won at Homestead co-driving with Angelelli during SunTrust Racing’s Rolex Series championship season of 2005. “It’s going to be a very tough race with regard to tire wear. I don’t know who’s got their tire wear sorted. I think we’re alright. We lost some time in practice because of black flags in practice this morning, and we had a problem with a left-front tire blistering during the afternoon practice. So that cost us preparation for qualifying. But, from what I saw this afternoon, I think we’ll be alright for the race.”